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Agenda Item No 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 16th May 2013

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 20th May 2013

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 22nd May 2013

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 23rd May 2013

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 28th May 2013

 

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

 

Task and Finish Activities for 2013/14

 

Purpose of the Report

1.            To update Members on Scrutiny reviews being undertaken and to agree a process for Scrutiny Committees to consider topics for review in 2013/14.

Recommendations

1.             That the update on Scrutiny reviews be noted.

2.             That the process for considering reviews in 2013/14 as contained in the report and as previously endorsed by the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group, be agreed.

Reason for the Recommendations

1&2  In recognition of the role of Scrutiny and to facilitate Scrutiny Committee work programmes as outlined in the Council's Constitution. 

 

Background

2.            The Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group at its meeting in July 2012 gave consideration to a report for prioritising Task and Finish activities for the current municipal year.  The Group was also made aware that the period to undertake both prioritised activities once agreed by the Group would be limited due to the natural delay in the Council establishing its committees at the Annual Meeting following the 2012 elections.  The Group also acknowledged (and again acknowledged at its meeting on 27th February 2013) the limited resources available within the Democratic and Scrutiny team which would require the completion of the Priority 1 activity before Priority 2 could commence.

3.            In considering items for review the Group also discussed the merits / feasibility of Members themselves undertaking review type activities in order to increase capacity (with assistance of officers from the Directorate allied to the service review).  This principle was supported by the Group, subject to the relevant Scrutiny Committee's agreement initially being sought on undertaking any review by this method.  However, it is recommended that if such an approach is to be taken, then the topic should fall within the parameters of the overall process for prioritising Task and Finish work and that the relevant service area confirms it is able to resource (i.e. in terms of officer support) the undertaking of the work.

4.            The Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group subsequently agreed its priorities for 2012/13 as below:

Priority 1 - Welfare Reform and the implications on Council services

Priority 2 - Traffic Management - the impact of traffic flows within the County, including reference to sustainable travel.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.            Members are advised that the Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group met regularly since September 2012, with progress on this subject aligned to objectives set out in its approved action plan.  The completed report was presented to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) in April 2013.

6.            Scrutiny Committees are asked to agree their work programmes for 2013/14, taking into account  the suggested following criteria :

  • whether the topic is specific (has a clear remit / question to answer)
  • whether achievable (in the time given and the resources available)
  • likely to generate productive outcomes
  • timely and relevant (i.e. it being a Council / community priority) and of public interest.

7.            As in previous years, each Scrutiny Committee is required to recommend items to be put forward for review to the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group to prioritise.  In order to assist the process, Committees are asked to limit the number of such items to two per committee.

8.            To facilitate this process it is suggested that Committees consider items that have been highlighted resulting from the number of surveys and questionnaires that have already been undertaken with the public, by the Council over previous months.  For Members' information the number of corporate consultation projects that have already been undertaken between 2011/12 and 2012/13 are detailed below:

  • Strategic Equality Plan - open consultation with residents and equality groups on issues affecting residents with protected characteristics
  • Citizens' Panel Survey May 2012 - questionnaire on town centres in the Vale
  • Public Opinion Survey 2012 - satisfaction questionnaire on a broad range of customer facing services including Visible Services, Transport, Leisure, Communications
  • Local Democracy Week - survey and consultation sessions with young people including plans for a Youth Cabinet
  • Vale Viewpoint Survey December 2012 - questionnaire covering volunteering, customer contact, community safety
  • Vale Viewpoint Survey January 2013 - questionnaire covering access to health information, carer support and road maintenance
  • Allotment Strategy - views sought on how provision of allotments could be improved
  • Citizens' Panel Budget Questionnaire - budget priorities and Town and Community Councils questionnaire - both facilitating the Budget Task and Finish Review that was undertaken by the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

9.            In assessing the above information and including analysis of a door to door survey undertaken on behalf of the Vale by Beaufort Research, as detailed at Appendix A to the report,  the priorities that have emerged are clear and overall include roads and pavements, refuse collection, disposal of domestic waste, highway maintenance and traffic management. 

10.       The Corporate Plan has also highlighted a number of issues that the Council is aware of as concern to residents and have been identified as improvement objectives.  Appendix B to the report provides examples.

11.       It is therefore suggested that the information gleaned from the consultations that have been undertaken be considered by all Scrutiny Committees prior to agreeing potential Task and Finish topics for consideration for approval by the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group.

12.       Whilst Traffic Management was Priority 2 in 2012/13, the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group on 27th February 2013 agreed that its merits will need to be reconsidered against all suggestions for 2013/14.

13.       For Members’ information also attached at Appendix C to this report are the reviews that were identified by Scrutiny Committees last year for consideration but which were not prioritised by the Group.

14.       It is also important to note that any member of the public can request that an item be considered by a Scrutiny Committee by completing a Scrutiny Review Topics Suggestion Form, which is available on the Council's website and / or from the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Section.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

15.       There are no direct financial implications arising from the report itself.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

16.       None as a direct result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17.       None as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

18.       None as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.       None as a direct result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

20.       To work with partners to promote good governance and ensure a co-ordinated approach to delivering the shared vision for the future of the Vale.

21.       The preparation and Member agreement of the contents of Scrutiny Committee work programmes contributes to a positive impact upon the Council and its services, and also contributes to the value of corporate objectives as well as ensuring that work can be undertaken in a timely and well planned manner.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.       Scrutiny Committees' work programmes form part of the Annual Scrutiny Report which, under Article 6 of the Council's Constitution, is presented to Full Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.       The subject matter is internal in nature and with regard to formal consultation, this is outlined above.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.       All

Background Papers

Council's Constitution

Various surveys undertaken

Corporate Plan

Budget Task and Finish Review

 

Contact Officer

Jeff Rees, Principal Democratic and Scrutiny Officer, tel: (01446) 709413,

e-mail: jerees@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Corporate Consultation Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services